Home => How To Eat => Mastering Family Meals Step by Step => Mastering Family Meals Step Three: Add On, Don't Take Away
Once you and the rest of the family have the meal habit, you may find yourself getting tired of eating the same food all the time. Here is where you learn to be considerate of other family members tastes and limitations without catering to their likes and dislikes. Tweak your menus to make them more interesting. Don't go too fast, or you will spoil a good thing. Make only one or two changes at a time. Add on, don't take away. You may want to include some broccoli and ranch dressing with the pizza, or put canned peaches on the table with the chicken nuggets and French fries. You might even want to bust out and have a new main dish. Whatever you do, don't get caught in the shoulds and oughts. For you and your child to do well with eating, it has to be enjoyable.
But how do you deal with a family that is skeptical of anything new?
Don't try to please every eater with every food. Settle for providing each eater with one or two foods they generally enjoy.
Don't offer substitutes or short-order cook.
When you introduce new foods, also offer something familiar that everyone likes and can fill up on.
Don't give choices on the main dish. Always putting peanut butter or cereal on the table tells your child, ''I don't expect you to learn to like new food.''
Use snacks to support mealtime.
For children and grown-ups to arrive at the table hungry and ready to eat, they can't have free access to food or drinks between times - except for water. But they can't be expected to last from one meal to the next without eating, either. Help everyone comfortably last until mealtime by offering snacks at set times midway between meals.
Are you ready to sneak up on planning? Consider Step Four: Do Family Friendly Feeding
For more about family meals (and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter's Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, Kelcy Press, 2008. Also see www.EllynSatter.com/shopping to purchase books and to review other resources.
Copyright © 2012 by Ellyn Satter. Published at www.EllynSatter.com.
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